Nervously, we are pleased to see some tentative green shoots appearing. The banks are still only lending to people who don’t need to borrow and most of our buyers are cash buyers who love to say ‘Cash is King’. If I hear that again…and they happen to be wrong in the educational market. Our school and nursery owners simply won’t sell unless and until they get the right buyer and the right price. They will simply hang on until things get better. Good for them.
We are very pleased to be selling a tuition company. Not something we would usually say. Why? Because so many of them are run by people whose primary aim is to make lots of money … who cannot teach properly. Many even rely upon students. Others rely on lots of printed worksheets. This college, which is being offered because the owner would rather like to retire, is very different. It only ever uses real teachers who are properly qualified and experienced to work one-to-one in the study centre…and make sure each student really understands each concept and how to be sure the answer is right and not just guess. The business is not expensive – best offer over £50,000 -and the current owner might even stay for a while as your employee!
How many people realise that Michael Gove intends to destroy Britain’s great and historic Grammar Schools? He will end academic selection FOR schools but keep it IN schools. Grammar Schools which cannot select immediately become comprehensives! Why on earth won’t politicians of all colours leave our schools alone? Why do the Tories want to destroy something good – after 10 years of defending Grammar Schools against Labour – in favour of something which is not guaranteed to be better (and will probably be much worse)? As they say in the sales … ‘Once they’re gone, they’re gone’.
STC is offering some very interesting former schools and school properties right now. They include a building with D1 use and capacity for 300-350 pupils in London at £8,000,000; an entire University Campus in the UK at £25,000,000+; and a stately home currently in use as a school at £2,500,000. We never know what we shall be asked to sell, quietly and privately, next … it’s an exciting life!
Despite endless stories of doom and recession being fed to us every time we turn the radio on or read a newspaper, it seems that the nursery market is proving to be as strong as ever. Wilmslow-based nursery chain Kids Unlimited, has been sold to its management team in a deal believed to be worth £45m. Demand for private nursery provision is expected to grow by more than 10% to 2010.
Chief executive Lee Pearson, Property & Commercial director Jeremy Clarke, care director Liz Hurley and chairman Graham Smith have taken a majority stake in the business. They have been backed by the Manchester office of private equity house LDC, which has taken a “significant” minority stake.
The deal provides an exit both for private equity house ISIS Equity Partners, which invested in the business in 2001, and for founder Stuart Pickering who set up the business with his wife Jean in 1983.
LDC’s regional chief Grant Berry said that it was keen to invest in the chain because of the quality of its management team, the sector it was in and because of the unique nature of its proposition.
“LDC has a strong track record of working with ambitious management teams to support successful expansion strategies,” said Smith. “Their financial and strategic input will enable us to take the business into its next phase of growth.”